In organizations and educational institutions, creativity trainings are the preferred approach to enhancing individual creative abilities. However, three issues regarding these trainings still remain largely unsolved. First, the question of how long-lasting creativity training effects are has not been sufficiently answered so far. Second, the question arises whether all participants benefit from such trainings equally in terms of their creative performance (CP). Third, an increasing number of studies have shown that creativity trainings may also be able to increase participants’ creative self-efficacy (CSE), that is, the confidence in one’s own creativity. Other studies, however, did not find evidence for this effect. Therefore, this article aims to address these issues by analyzing data from three measurement waves. Results reveal that participants’ CP increased during the training and decreased only slightly 4 weeks after the training. Additionally, we found an effect of diminishing training returns in that the higher a participant’s CP before the training the lower the training effect was. In contrast to most prior literature, we found no support for an effect of creativity training on participants’ CSE. We discuss these findings and offer implications for both theory and practice. Finally, we state this study’s limitations and derive avenues for further research.
THEORETICAL BACKGROUND AND DEVELOPMENT OF HYPOTHESES
Creativity training has its roots in the work of Osborn (1953), who was the first to contrive methods aiming to enhance creativity. In the following decades, more and more approaches emerged that advanced the understanding of how creativity can be stimulated, being consecutively followed by the development of various training programs based on his seminal work (Jausovec, 1994). To date, hundreds of approaches for enhancing creative thinking have evolved (Karwowski & Soszynski, 2008; Nickerson, 1999), ranging from programs for kindergartners (e.g. Dziedziewicz, Oledzka, & Karwowski, 2013; Meador, 1994) or primary school students (Dziedziewicz, Gajda, & Karwowski, 2014) to management trainings (Basadur, Wakabayashi, & Takai, 1992). In order to measure their impact, a broad range of studies has investigated the effectiveness of creativity trainings. Four of these studies are particularly noteworthy since they comprehensively aggregate previous findings. First, Torrance (1972) analyzed 142 creativity training studies and found that the vast majority of analyzed trainings enhanced participants’ creativity. Second, Rose and Lin (1984) conducted the first metaanalytic study on creativity trainings and assessed an overall positive but moderate effect size of the studied trainings on CP. Third, Scott et al. (2004) conducted the second meta-analytic study on creativity trainings. Being the first to account for various training characteristics, such as different course contents and delivery methods, the authors found that training characteristics differ in their creativity enhancing effect. Fourth, a further meta-analytic study by Ma (2006) found an even stronger effect of creativity trainings on CP than the studies mentioned previously. In contrast to Scott et al. (2004), Ma’s (2006) study further analyzed the boundary conditions of creativity trainings. He found that the training effect was consistent across different creativity measurement instruments and independent from the training duration. To sum up, the majority of these studies indicate that creativity trainings generally have a positive effect on CP with effect sizes between 0.47 and 0.76 (for a comprehensive review, see Ma, 2006).